Rescue team members stand beside body bags with the remains of passengers of Lion Air, flight JT610. Image Credit: REUTERS

A Lion Air flight with 189 people on board crashed into the sea just minutes after taking off from Indonesia's capital on Monday in a blow to the country's aviation safety record after the lifting of bans on its airlines by the European Union and US.

Updates:

■ The new Boeing 737 Max 8 was repaired after it suffered a technical problem just hours before the crash. The jet disappeared from radar 13 minutes after take off.

■ There are no survivors after a Lion Air plane carrying 189 people crashed 5,000 feet into the sea off Indonesia, according to officials

■ The plane was flying from the capital Jakarta to Pangkal Pinang.

■ Flight JT610 was carrying 189 passengers and crew. Two babies and a child were among those on board.

■ Search teams have found body parts and passengers' belongings, including mobile phones, clothing, bags and wallets, in the sea, along with wreckage from the plane.

■ The fuselage sank in water up to 114 feet deep, about nine miles from the coast of Java island.


Indonesia rescuers expect no survivors from crashed Lion Air plane

An Indonesian search and rescue agency official estimated there would be no survivors from the Lion Air plane that crashed into the sea north of Java Island on Monday.

"We need to find the main wreckage," Bambang Suryo, operational director of the agency, told reporters. "I predict there are no survivors, based on body parts found so far." The plane, with 189 people on board, lost contact 13 minutes after take-off from Jakarta.

'Human remains recovered'

Indonesia rescue official: Human remains recovered from plane crash, exact location of plane wreck not yet identified.

Something amiss in Lion Air Flight take-off, shows data

The ill-fated Lion Air flight JT610, an almost new Boeing 737 MAX 8 that crashed into the sea on Monday, had a weird take-off from Jakarta, the flight data showed.

Data from FlightRadar24 showed the first sign of something going wrong with the plane in nearly two minutes into the flight, when it reached 2,000 feet.

It then descended more than 500 feet before climbing again to 5,000 feet, reaching to 5,450 feet before descending again.

The plane gained speed in the final moments and reached 345 knots before the connection was lost when it was at 3,650 feet.

The total flight time was 13 minutes before the plane crashed into the sea.

The same flight a day earlier reached nearly 24,800 feet within 13 minutes into the flight, the data showed.

Indian pilot Bhavye Suneja captained crashed Indonesian plane

An Indonesian Lion Air Boeing passenger plane carrying 189 people and flown by Indian captain Bhavye Suneja crashed into the Java Sea on Monday shortly after taking off from here, with authorities saying they have found no survivor.

The aircraft, manufactured this year, was commanded by Captain Suneja, with co-pilot Harvino, according to a spokesman of the airline. Authorities said before the crash, the pilot had made a request to return to base.

Indian pilot Bhavye Suneja captained the Indonesian plane Lion Air. Facebook

The Guardian reported that Suneja was from New Delhi and was living in Jakarta with his wife.

According to the Guardian, Suneja's parents learned of the disaster in the morning and were booked to fly to Jakarta on Monday night. Suneja lived in Jakarta with his wife - they were married two years ago.

"He loved his job, he was very much interested in it," the daily quoted Kapish Gandhi, the cousin of the pilot, as saying. "We saw it on the television this morning and didn't know whether to believe it."

According to the airline spokesman, Suneja had clocked more than 6,000 flight hours while his co-pilot had more than 5,000 flight hours to his credit.

Lion jet had technical problem on prior flight

Lion Air's president says the plane that crashed into the sea Monday had a technical problem on its last flight that was resolved.

Airline President Edward Sirait said Monday the technical problem on Boeing 737 Max 8 plane was resolved in accordance with the manufacturer's procedures. He wasn't more specific but said the problem on the earlier flight would be part of the investigation of Monday's crash.

An oil slick where Lion Air flight JT 610 reportedly crashed into the sea off the coast of Indonesia's Java island. AFP

Separately, Indonesia's Directorate-General of Air Transportation said the flight from Jakarta to Pangkal Pinang requested to return to Jakarta shortly after takeoff from the capital's airport. The plane crashed into the sea about 13 minutes after takeoff.

In a statement about the tragedy, the air transportation agency's spokesman Sindu Rahayu said, "The plane had requested a return to base before disappearing from the radar." It gave no other details about the request.

Deeply saddened

Boeing says it is "deeply saddened" by the crash of a Lion Air off the Indonesian coast and offered to help with the investigation.

Lion Air Flight 610 crashed shortly after takeoff from Jakarta on Monday morning. Searchers so far have found plane debris and personal items but no bodies.

The 737 Max 8 plane was bound for Pangkal Pinang, an island chain off Sumatra.

The Chicago-based planemaker said it is prepared to provide technical assistance into the crash probe, which will be carried out by Indonesian investigators.

In its statement, Boeing Co. expressed its concern for the 189 people onboard, and offered "heartfelt sympathies to their families and loved ones."

Personnel looking at items believed to be from the wreckage of the Lion Air flight JT 610, recovered off the coast of Indonesia's Java island. AFP

Families turn up

Families are turning up at Indonesia's National Search and Rescue Agency headquarters in Jakarta for word of their loved ones after a Lion Air plane crashed at sea.

Indonesia's Finance Minister Sri Mulyani met with the agency chief, seeking information about 20 finance ministry staff who were on the flight. The Boeing plane disappeared Monday morning and the search is concentrating in oil-slickened waters where debris has been found.

Feni, who uses a single name, said her soon-to-be-married sister was on the flight, planning to meet relatives in Pangkal Pinang.

"We are here to find any information about my younger sister, her fiance, her in-law to be and a friend of them," said Feni.

"We don't have any information," she said, as her father wiped tears from reddened eyes. "No one provided us with any information that we need. "We're confused. We hope that our family is still alive," she said.

Relatives of passengers of Lion Air flight JT610 that crashed into the sea, cry at Depati Amir airport in Pangkal Pinang, Indonesia. Reuters

Brand-new aircraft

Aviation tracking website Flightradar24 says the Lion Air plane that crashed after takeoff from Jakarta was a brand-new aircraft that has only been in use for a couple of months.

The site says the 737 Max 8 plane was registered as PK-LQP and was delivered to the airline in August.

Vessels searching in the water for the Flight 610 wreckage have found various items of debris.

The Max 8 is part of Boeing Co.'s latest narrow-body 737 series. It replaced the similar 737-800 in the Chicago-based planemaker's product line.

Boeing spokesman Paul Lewis says Boeing is "closely monitoring the situation" but did not provide details on the aircraft in question.

Crash, initial report

Indonesia's disaster agency says a Lion Air passenger jet crashed into the sea shortly after takeoff from Jakarta and was carrying 188 passengers and crew.

Agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho posted photos on Twitter of debris including a crushed smartphone, books, bags and parts of the aircraft fuselage that had been collected by search and rescue vessels that have converged on the area.

He said the flight was carrying 181 passengers, including one child and two babies, and seven crew members.

Indonesian TV broadcast pictures of a fuel slick and debris field.

Rescue efforts

A search and rescue effort is being conducted at sea for a Lion Air passenger jet that lost contact shortly after it left Jakarta.

Indonesian search and rescue personnel prepare for a recovery mission after Lion Air flight JT610 crashed into the sea, in Kerawang, West Java. AFP

The Boeing 737-800 departed the Indonesian capital about 6.20 a.m. for Pangkal Pinang on an island chain off Sumatra. Data for Flight 610 on aircraft tracking website FlightAware ends just a few minutes following takeoff.

"We can confirm that one of our flights has lost contact," said Lion Air spokesman Danang Mandala Prihantoro. "Its position cannot be ascertained yet."

A telegram from the National Search and Rescue Agency to the air force has requested assistance with the search of a location at sea off Java.

A report to the Jakarta Search and Rescue Office cites the crew of a tug boat reporting a Lion Air flight falling from the sky. It said several vessels have headed to the location.

Lost contact

Indonesia's Lion Air says it has lost contact with a passenger jet flying from Jakarta to an island off Sumatra.

A search and rescue effort has been launched for the Boeing 737-800 plane which departed Jakarta about 6.20 a.m. on Monday.

Lion Air spokesman Danang Mandala Prihantoro said "we can confirm that one of our flights has lost contact, its position cannot be ascertained yet."

The model, make and a brief history

The plane that crashed into the waters off Indonesia's capital was the most recent model in Boeing Co.'s storied 737 family, the company's best-selling plane and a workhorse for the growing ranks of budget airlines.

A Lion Air passenger jet takes off from Juanda International Airport in Surabaya, Indonesia. AP

Lion Air took delivery of that 737 Max in August, and according to Indonesia's National Transportation Safety Committee, had clocked 800 hours of flight time before Monday's accident.

An order backlog of over 4,000 for the 737 Max family shows the popularity of the latest version of the single-aisle jet with airlines. The model, which the Chicago-based plane maker says offers better fuel savings, range and reliability over earlier versions, has gained customers in Asia where several dozen low-cost carriers have emerged over the last decade. Currently, four versions of the Max family are being offered.

The Max family can seat as many as 230 passengers and fly as far as 6,110 kilometers, according to Boeing's website. The planes use the LEAP-1B engines from CFM International, a joint venture of General Electric Co. and Safran SA. Among the model's biggest customers in the region are Lion Air, India's SpiceJet Ltd. and China Southern Airlines Co.

Boeing's 737 planes have had 208 hull losses since 1970, according to the Aviation Safety Network database maintained by the Flight Safety Foundation. The aircraft competes with Airbus SE's A320neo family of jets in the narrow-body segment. The first Max plane was delivered to Lion Air's unit Malindo Airways in May 2017.

While the cause of the crash isn't clear, Boeing said in a statement Monday that it is ready to provide technical assistance to the crash investigators. Lion Air, the carrier that lost the plane with 189 people on board, was among Indonesian airlines that were on the European Union's list of banned operators from 2007 through 2016, according to the database.